Vox developer Steve Ball sat down with IGHQ to talk about this standout voxel-based game. Vox is currently in pre-alpha and already has a strong community with attractive features which will help it stand out from other titles in the genre, spotlighting extreme customization for just about everything in the game. Steve has a huge list of upcoming additions planned for the game and has decided to share a number of those during this latest interview.
Vox is an adventure and creation game currently under development and follows on from other voxel based games such as Minecraft and Infiniminer. Vox will have a big focus on player created content, and will allow the player to customize every aspect of the game.
Players can create their own custom characters, weapons, items, monsters, NPCs and everything else in the game. Since everything in the game is made up of voxels, everything can be edited and customized using the same interface. The editors and tools that allow for creation of voxel objects and sprites are part of the game and built into the gameplay of the game. This allows Vox to go one step further than other voxel based games, that only allow modification to the voxel world.
Vox will also feature a dynamic world that is populated with many interactive elements, such as monsters and NPC villages and will have a fully driven story and adventure mode. This mode also features a dynamic quest system that will give the player greater focus and drive to do more in the game than just ‘create stuff’. (Greenlight)
Indie Game HQ: First off, it’s great to speak with you today. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Steve: Well my name is Steve Ball and I am the developer of Vox. I am a games programmer and my education background is a Bsc in Computer Science and an Msc in Games Programming. I really love gaming and I have been a games addict since a very young age. I would probably have to say I prefer PC gaming to console gaming, but only because I am more into my deep strategy games, RPGs and involved games that take time to play with the precision of a keyboard and mouse.
Indie Game HQ: What inspired you to not only create Vox from scratch, but to also teach others how to make a voxel based engine?
Steve: When I first started making my voxel engine, it was more as a learning exercise (and as an entry into a Ludum Dare competition) since I wanted to learn about the techniques and concepts of voxel based games. But one thing that I quickly noticed was that there were no resources or decent articles online about how to make a voxel engine. So simply put, I decided to fill this knowledge void and also I love sharing my knowledge and stuff that I learn with other people. Knowledge sharing and letting other people follow in your footsteps and learn from your past experiences is what makes the internet a massively useful resource and I wanted to contribute to this.
Indie Game HQ: What tools did you use to create and implement the music for Vox?
Steve: I actually have another guy that created the music that is present in Vox at the moment. He is fairly new and for a very long time I have been working alone, but music is probably the one biggest area of game development where I can’t devote enough time to, and thus usually like to get someone else to do audio/music since there are people out there way more skilled than me at this craft.
Indie Game HQ: Has Alpha funding been successful? Have you thought about starting a crowd-funding project?
Steve: I have actually been blow away by the support of people on Desura and the reaction to my alpha-funding release. I was totally unsure of what to expect before I put Vox up on Desura so I was really surprised when the players supported me as much as they did. I have actually been toying around with the idea of Kickstarter for a while now, but again I am unsure how the general populous and mainstream media will look upon Vox and what sort of reaction it will get, so I am not yet ready to go full force into a Kickstarter project at this stage. Maybe once I have a few more updates out for the pre-alpha version and there is more content in the game, then I will feel more comfortable asking the crowd for funding.
Indie Game HQ: When do you hope to have Vox released? What is the expected final price?
Steve: The current pre-alpha release that is available on Desura and IndieDB is ticking along nicely and I like to release updates very frequently (at least once a week) so I think once I get most of the core features implemented and playable in the pre-alpha, then I will start to refine the releases a little, i.e make a more functional demo version that is a limited version of the full game, etc. I can’t say on a timeframe at this stage, but I encourage people to follow development if they are interested in Vox. Price-wise I think that the price will go up a little from the current alpha funding price ($9.99) as this was set at a lower price than the full version to allow early adopters a thank you for supporting Vox early. I estimate the full game price will be maybe between $15-$20.
Indie Game HQ: What have you learned in the development process, and what would you like to implement in the future?
Steve: Aside from the general voxel programming that I have learned as part of making my voxel engine and Vox, I have really learned a lot in terms of marketing practices and how to publicize a game that is in development. This really isn’t something that should be overlooked as today it really is a skill to get your game out there and noticed. So many factors are important in getting the word out and letting people know what you are developing, social media plays a massive part these days!
Indie Game HQ: What will distinguish Vox from other voxel games?
Steve: Once of the biggest factors that will really make Vox stand out more than other voxel games is the level of player customization and content creation that will be possible in Vox. At the moment it is entirely possible to create/edit and customize pretty much every aspect of the game; characters, items/weapons, world scenery, NPCs, monsters, quests, particle effects, etc… My goal is to make it possible for players to make *anything* they want in Vox AND also have it be functional as part of the gameplay. I think this will really set it apart from the other voxel based games at the moment, which might offer some limited levels of creativity, but are not really functional as part of the gameplay, or where there is no purpose to being creative.
Indie Game HQ: Will the game rely heavily on user created content?
Steve: Yes! The game will be very much based on the idea that a player can create and edit any part of the game. Also once a player creates something cool in the world, say an awesome sword, or a cool new scenery item for their player built house, or a quest they have been scripting, it will be very easy to share this content with other players and online. So other people can download your creations and plug them directly into their game world easily.
Indie Game HQ: In the latest version (Pre-Alpha v0.19) you added chests, ore deposits, and a few other things. What ideas do you have planned for future updates?
Steve: As you mentioned the newest version v0.19 contains a lot of new gameplay features that were not available previously and this is my goal for each new release, to slowly open up the world with cool new gameplay and features. Some of the stuff that I have planned for future updates include:
- Much better landscape creation and world generation.
- Cave creation.
- Dungeons and boss monsters.
- Dynamic lighting – torches, fires, particle lights, etc.
- Animation editing – allow players to define how their characters/NPCs/monsters are animated.
- Better combat system.
- Player skills and abilities.
- More NPC interactions – go questing with NPCs, NPCs building houses, etc.
- Water and fluids added into the game with gameplay implications!
- NPC creation and editing.
- Quest creation.
- Shops – buy/sell items.
- Character classes.
- Character stats.
- Further refine the creation and sharing tools.
As you can see I have a lot of new exciting stuff upcoming, so I have a lot of work ahead of me. But I am happy to create these features and also take any suggestions from the players, one thing that I really like it community interaction, so I would welcome players to get in touch and suggest ideas and features that they would like to see in a future version of Vox. I have already implemented lots of cool improvements and ideas from the community as I think this level of involvement with the development is amazing.
Indie Game HQ: Thanks for your time, is there anything else you’d like to add for our readers?
Steve: Thanks once again for having me and allowing me the time to talk to your readers about Vox and expose some of my ideas and thoughts. If anyone would like to test out or play the latest versions of Vox, it can be found on IndieDB, and if people like what they are playing and would be happy to support the development of Vox, they can do so by purchasing the alpha version of Vox from Desura. I would very much appreciate this and give my thanks.
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